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Cut out images with Instant Alpha

Use Pages’ Instant Alpha tool to erase backgrounds

Pages has a bit of reputation for being a dull, word-processing app. We think that’s a bit harsh here at iCreate, however. While image editing might not be the first technique you think of, Pages has proven itself to be an all-action, multi-media piece of creative software.

Take its Instant Alpha tool, for example. This feature is great if you like to use imagery in your Pages projects. It lets you cut out entire background of an image, seamlessly turning the rest transparent. It might not be as accurate as an app like Photoshop, but the final results are impressive and highly convenient, not to mention adding a touch of professionalism to your projects. When you’re done, you can even tweak your image using an easy-to-use histogram and other intuitive adjustment sliders.


1 Add image

Open up Pages and either select one of the app’s brilliant templates or choose a blank copy. With that open, hit the media icon in the bottom-right and search and add an image.


2 Format>Image

With the image in place and selected, head over to the Format menu in the top-right and select the middle Image tab that appears underneath. Image editing options appear.


3 Instant Alpha

The option we’re after is Instant Alpha, under Edit Mask. Click the option, making sure the image is selected. You’ll be asked to click a colour to make it transparent.


4 Drag across

Now drag across similar colours on your image. Pages picks up which colours are similar and makes them transparent too. Transparent parts turn purple as you go along.


5 Background removal

When you lift your fingers off your mouse or trackpad, those purple parts turn transparent to signal that they have been completely removed from the image.


6 Undo

Pages (or dare we say it, you) will make mistakes with Instant Alpha, but the trusty Cmd+Z keyboard shortcut works perfectly, undoing an unlimited number of changes.


7 Zoom in

For bar graphs, you’ll also have the option to customise the gaps – it might seem picky, but these small changes can make your finished spreadsheets look really professional.


8 Review progress

At the bottom of the Charts sidebar you can adjust the type of chart you’re using. You can change the whole chart type, or just make a change like moving to a 3D design.


9 Background gone

Edit the border design and add a background to your chart if you want it to jump right off the page. You can add all kinds of backgrounds, so experiment with the options.